It’s hard to believe Christmas is here again- the most wonderful and wasteful time of the year! Being the favourite holiday of consumerism, naturally, single use plastic thrives. From wrapping paper to food packaging, a whole lot of plastic junk is brought into existence and destined for landfill.
I chatted with Evelyn Suttle from Veghuns about simple ways we can all be a little more sustainable this Christmas!
Veghuns is an Instagram page, set up by three best friends in 2015, as a way to promote plant based eating in Dublin. “We wanted to show that being vegan is very possible and accessible for people living in Ireland. You can still eat out, still do groceries, you can even still have pizza easily!” Says Evelyn.
Through sharing their recommendations, tips and information the girls have amassed a following of 11.4k and have even spoke at events like Dublin Vegfest.
The Veghuns at Vegfest 2019
For Veghuns, environmentalism and veganism go hand in hand.
“I think what it comes down to is a respect and consideration for living beings other than yourself. To be aware that your actions affect others- it changes how you act. Being aware that animals are killed is why we stopped eating meat. Being aware of the atrocities in the dairy industry made us give up that. And likewise, realising the impact of plastic among other animals and other humans made us give up that. Ultimately, if you’re aware of how your actions affect others, you’re inevitably going to come across all these amazing movements on how to better your impact.” Evelyn explains.
She adds that cutting out plastic is a hard thing to do and she’s not 100% perfect yet, but it’s all about coming to the realisation of its damage and reducing your waste accordingly to better your impact on the planet.
The group have been sharing their ideas for conscious Christmas gifts with their followers. Digital gifts such as a charity donation in the recipient’s name, or a voucher for a vintage website can be amazing zero waste gifts. But for the people in your life who want something tangible, Evelyn suggests checking out your local charity shop! “A really popular one is Oxfam. They have tons of shops and they produce so many Fairtrade items that you can buy. Even the cliché and kitschy gifts like candles or nice scarfs… but its going to a good cause.”
The materials we use to give our gifts in are also something we need to reconsider. Wrapping paper and gift bags are single use plastics, destined for sitting in landfill or floating in our oceans. Every year, people mistakenly clog recycling bins with these items. As Evelyn suggests, there are plenty of easy alternatives like old paper bags and newspaper!
“A gift wrapped in an old paper bag tied with string or ribbon is the cutest thing! And it’s probably something you already have around you that you can reuse.”
2020 has been a tough year for us all, with many of us feeling the financial burden. With this in mind, Veghuns proposed the idea of free gifts- a conscious gift you can give without spending a cent! These are sentimental and personal homemade gifts, like baked goods, a framed photo, a drawing or painting- get creative!
“When I was thinking of ideas for conscious gifts I realised those were the ones that were my favourites.” Evelyn says.
Evelyn’s favourite idea for a free gift? Personalised cards against humanity! Putting it together may be time consuming, but she guarantees me it’s worth it all in the end for the craic.
Head over to @veghuns on Instagram for more Christmas tips!